3 years into Atti’s little life, and I’m just now addressing the mess he makes at food time. A mess so great that we can never dream of eating together at our dining table, lest we want our carpet to be covered in a dense matting of crushed cheerios and cast off pieces of fruit. Which means that Atti usually eats in the middle of the kitchen, marooned on an island surrounded by linoleum.
I’d seen these vinyl splashmats in fancy kid catalogs, but rolled my eyes at them. I do that with a lot of stuff people try to sell moms – stuff that maybe could solve a problem that’s not really a problem, or will only be a problem for a few months until the kid grows into a new skill. But, my kid has reason to take his time at developing those skills, so it was time to put my eyes back in my head and recognize that this might actually have a point.
I bought 2 1/2 yards of the main colored vinyl, and 1/2 a yard of a contrasting vinyl for the binding. I knew I wanted it to be roughly square, so I folded the main vinyl in half and then cut it to the size that would work for my high chair.
I cut the contrasting vinyl into 3″ wide strips, and sewed it on just like quilt binding. Here’s a great tutorial for that. Once you have the binding sewed on to the front, bend it over to the back and pin in place. I used bobby pins to hold it down so that I didn’t make holes in the vinyl. If you pin it so that the binding covers the seam line on the back, then you can sew the binding shut on the machine by carefully sewing on the seam again. Sometimes, just to make sure I catch that back, I’ll sew a line on just the very edge of the binding on the front. This secures the binding on the back, but also adds a little look of topstitching on the front.
If your child will master eating within a short enough time frame to make all this work excessive, you could skip the binding and stop with a zig zagged edge. Actually, you could just lay down one piece of vinyl and not even worry about the back or the edge. But since this will most likely be a part of our lives for the next few years, I wanted to make it as nice as possible. Before it gets covered in so many crushed cheerios and cast off fruit that it becomes unrecognizable.